Application of Photovoltaic Technology in E-Textiles

What is Photovoltaic Textiles?
Photovoltaic textiles also known as solar textiles or PV textiles, involves integrating solar cells into fabric to create textiles capable of generating electricity from sunlight. PV textiles has a wide range of applications in fashion, health monitoring, military, and more.

Smart textiles as the part of technical textiles are using smart materials including photoactive materials, conductive polymers, shape memory materials, etc. are developed to mimic the nature in order to form novel materials with a different kind of functionalities.

Photovoltaic (PV) technology, generally used for converting sunlight into electrical energy, has found innovative applications in various fields, including e-textiles. This solar energy is used in clothing and wearable products are being considered to generate sufficient electrical energy to run personal devices such as mobile phones, IPads, and laptops. Photovoltaic technology in e-textiles represents a promising intersection of renewable energy and wearable electronics. These technologies are lightweight, flexible, and easy to transport while leveraging the abundant natural sunlight in an eco-friendly way.

Photovoltaic textiles are used for powering wearable and portable devices
Fig: Photovoltaic textiles are used for powering wearable and portable devices

The photovoltaic materials can be integrated into the textile structures especially on clothes, however, the best promising results from an efficient photovoltaic fibre has to be come which can constitute a variety of smart textile structures and related products

Photovoltaic (PV) textiles are available in the global market, and the demand for such textiles is increasing day by day. For example, Photovoltaic integrated clothing and accessories that are inserted in a baseball cap with a thin piece of PV metal on the top that produces power for a fan attached to the edge of the cap. The power of the sun regulates the spinning speed of the fan; thus, the brighter the sun, the faster the fan will spin.

Voltaic Panels are strong, lightweight, aluminium solar panels that are placed on the outside of products, usually in a flexible, fabric sleeve so do not restrict the use of the product to the wearer. They can generate up to 10W of power. The Fuse 10W solar laptop charger can be attached to products such as backpacks and panniers via the flexible buckle and strap system and it can be used to charge a variety of products.

Properties of Photovoltaic (PV) Textiles:

  1. Scratch-Resistant
  2. Waterproof
  3. UV-Resistant
  4. Flexible
  5. Durable

Uses of Photovoltaic (PV) Textiles:
Photovoltaic textiles can be used to manufacture power wearable, mobile and stationary electronic devices to communicate, lighten, cool and heat, etc. by converting sun light into electrical energy. It is also used in charging mobile phones, iPods, cameras and torches etc. Photovoltaic textiles are used in powering wearable devices like fitness trackers, smartwatches, and health monitors. Besides, military uniforms are integrated with voltaic panels to power communication devices and other equipment.

Photovoltaic technology in e-textiles holds significant potential to revolutionize the way we use and wear fabrics, making everyday objects not only functional but also energy-generating, contributing to a more sustainable future. Though the popularity of Photovoltaic (PV) textiles is still limited, as cost barriers have heavily impacted the sale and production of this smart textile. The market of PV textile has not emerged as very strong, but considering the future need of smart fabrics, the rapid growth of the photovoltaic textile and fabrics is, both palpable and inevitable.


  1. Fibres to Fabrics by Bev Ashford
  2. Ali I, Islam MR, Yin J, Eichhorn SJ, Chen J, Karim N, Afroj S. Advances in Smart Photovoltaic Textiles. ACS Nano. 2024 Feb 6;18(5):3871-3915. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.3c10033. Epub 2024 Jan 23. PMID: 38261716; PMCID: PMC10851667.
  3. Vlatko Cingoski and Biljana Petrevska, Flexible Textile Photovoltaics: Application of New Generation in Tourism, Journal of Applied Economics and Business
  4. Photovoltaic Technology Application in Textile by Fibre2fashion

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